Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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REVIEW | The Boy in the Dress, The RSC

Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB, UK

The Boy in the Dress

Out of all of the new stage productions to emerge through the wings in 2019, the RSC's announcement of The Boy in the Dress was one of the most highly anticipated for me. "You can be whoever you want to be" in this 2 hours 20-minute production based on the best-selling and heartwarming novel from David Walliams. I read this book in one sitting and knew instantly that the words amongst the pages could become a big hit on the stage. 

With the help of Mark Ravenhill, Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers,, they have re-imagined a story about a boy which will inspire young people and could definitely be the next big production grown at The RSC like Matilda. This groovy, exhilarating performance is cleverly crafted to be more than just a story specifically about gender politics or sexuality. In fact, it's all about the importance of individuality, difference and everyone's right to be loved exactly as they are. Although it's message runs deep it has been sugar-coated with fantastic comedy and spectacular musical numbers through and through. 

The high-class production value from this theatre is back with an enchanting set, the miniature moving houses are a fantastic touch through some specific scenes. Drawn with black and white lines, their monochrome backdrop embodies a community that are happy with being ordinary. This production definitely has the WOW factor and many times we could hear gasps from amongst the audience as we see the space transform before our very eyes over and over again. 

READ MORE: Interview with Natasha Lewis, Darvesh's Mum in The Boy in the Dress. 

The songs are direct with their cheesy/fun lyrics, integrated with punchy choreography. Most of the songs in The Boy in the Dress are very pop-esque but they are embedded well within the story, some of the songs are definitely more catchy than the others. You'll be humming Disco Symphony in your head, long after you've left your seat in the audience. However, A House Without A Mum tugged on my heartstrings as a highly emotive number and Extraordinary becoming an anthem for us all as we battle to love ourselves as we are. 

Mark Ravenhill's script for this production is perfect too and it takes the book and recreates the story superbly for the stage. There's some fantastic jokes in this story that Ravenhill has ensured are not lost and the young audience will love them too! The favourite gags here include a boy's love for Magnum ice creams and a pupil who wasn't expelled even though "he put his willy in a test tube" which are perfectly sat alongside the more serious side of Dennis' story. I laughed just as much (if not more) watching this production as I did when reading the book. 
Aletta Collins does a superb job with the choreography in this piece too. The two football matches are carefully crafted to come alive, there has been some clear time and practice in creating these pieces to perfection and they go down a storm with the audience. 

The entire cast of this production collectively brings so much energy and heart to their characters and this story about Dennis'. Rufus Hound delivers the emotional notes as Dennis' dad (he surprised me!), Natasha Lewis is blooming marvellous and so funny as Darvesh's eccentric mum. The young cast are great here too Tabitha Knowles as Lisa James, Ethan Dattani as Darvesh and Toby Mocrei were simply delightful in their roles. They all had a clear tone in their singing voices and brought the characters in the book to life completely. Their performances were beautiful and it almost flowed too quickly for my likely! 

It's a new musical I am really excited for and I genuinely couldn't recommend a more fitting production for the entire family to enjoy this season, it's perfect for everyone. 

The Boy in the Dress is a joyous, new British musical of our time that will hopefully make us as an audience love ourselves (and others) just that little bit harder.  You can catch it at the RSC until 8 March 2020. You can find out more here


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